Artifacts, questions raised from shipwrecks

A cannon rests atop other cannon in a jumble of artifacts in a trio of shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Jeff Newpher - Your Houston News

The discovery of three shipwrecks last week in the Gulf of Mexico 170 miles from Galveston made possible by a mixture of technology, exploration and science has generated facts, assumptions and a list of questions that may grow to the 4,300 foot depth of water at the wrecks.

For now, the area of the historic discovery is called the "Monterrey Shipwreck” because Monterrey is what Shell Oil had named the area when they were exploring it for potential drilling.

They alerted government scientists that there was something unusual on the floor of the Gulf.

What the scientists from three federal government agencies, one state agency, three universities and a few private foundations know is that during their eight-day adventure, they participated in the country’s deepest archeological and scientific shipwreck artifact recovery.

On Thursday, July 25, at Moody Gardens in Galveston, the participants explained the significance and in some cases, the mystery that is still attached to the wrecks by displaying a handful of the 60 items they recovered from Monterrey.

Fact: the three wrecks are within five miles of each other. Each schooner was approximately 83 feet long and 25 feet wide.

Using a remote-operated vehicle “steered with the precision of a video gamer,” and controlled from the surface almost a mile away, members of the expedition carefully investigated, photographed (more than 600,000 images) and in some cases retrieved the salt water-preserved items from the seabed including dishes, a toothbrush, books, navigational tools, medicine bottles, jugs, bell, animal hides, a corked bottle of ginger, demijohns (bottles) and Spanish olive jars.

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Texas Galveston Gulf of Mexico wreckage Monterrey Shipwrecks